50 Cent's Memoir Gives an Inside Perspective on the Star's Success
50 Cent started out with a dream in mind, to make money‚ and he turned that dream into an empire. His life is filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, yet through it all, he achieved his dream and tells about it in his book, From Pieces To Weight: Once Upon a Time In Southside Queens, which was an extremely informational and inspiring memoir and therefore I would recommend it for any other audience whether you are interested in the rap music scene or not. 50 Cent shows how to achieve the American Dream in a way that appeals to a younger generation. This memoir does this by telling his story both sequentially while also using flashbacks to develop a greater sense of depth and breadth within his story. The language is fresh and authentic, and the book wraps up with a philosophical reflection on the lessons that 50 Cent learned through hard choices and even harder life experiences.
At the heart of 50 Cent’s story telling structure is a straight forward chronological retelling of his life. He retells his early life by starting with the passing of his mother advancing to his run-ins with the law as a youth, and gradually builds to his slow and tumultuous rise to fame. This is great for readers because it is very easy to follow and doesn't jump around to different periods in his life with different situations. Also, it makes it easy for the reader to properly develop character relationships and more easily follow the content. Even though the chronological sequences are at the heart of this memoir’s structure, 50 Cent enhances those significant life events by using flashbacks to reveal side stories that create a deeper understanding of his experiences. These were a nice addition because they helped explain a situation or character that didn't initially make sense. These didn't, however, detract from the story because they were placed in just the right spot where the reader would start to ask questions.
Next, 50 Cent's language is not overblown but actually sounds exactly as you would imagine him speaking. Too often celebrities take on a different persona when present with the formality of telling their life story in print. 50 Cent avoids that trap as he uses language that most people use, even though it isn't the most proper way to speak, “‘I ain't doin' nothing,' I said, 'Just riding with you.’”(35). This brief example shows the relaxed manner in which 50 Cet speaks. It may not be the most proper way to talk, but is fresh and real. So much about the music of 50 Cent centers on the rhythm of speech patterns that to present himself in any other manner would come across as disingenuous In another example, while standing on a street corner, 50 Cent says, “Anyone who stands on the corner stands their in entrepreneurial spirit because they really don't want to be working for anyone...I had on a leather bomber over a new Adidas tracksuit with matching sneakers. On the street, I felt like I was making moves. But sitting in the car, I felt like I was hustling backwards” (35). The authentic use of language allows the reader to undertand more about 50 Cent’s view of the world and it makes situations more understandable and less confusing because it engages the reader and allows them to take in the words and really understand what is being said.
Finally, From Pieces To Weight: Once Upon a Time In Southside Queens, was a intriguing memoir because it was full of philosophical reflections and emotion-filled descriptions of the obstacles that 50 Cent faced. First, when he is talking about the attempted taking of his life by a masked gunman, he reflects on the events in a very philosophical and sage way, “After I got shot nine times and didn't die, I started to think that I must have a purpose in life, like, I have to be here for a reason...How much more damage could that shell have done? Give me an inch in this direction or that one, and I'm gone” (189). This is interesting content because not only does it describe a situation that most of his audience is familiar with but it also helps the audience understand how overcoming this experience helped 50 Cent become the person he is today. Additionally, it makes the reader feel the pain of this attack because he makes it real by stating that if it had played out a fraction of a inch differently, he very well could have died and his story would never have been told. Another example of his philosophical and emotion-filled descriptions is when, at the end of the book, he reflects on all of the events that have happened to him and his view in himself, “I am truly blessed. And I remind myself every day that I'm in a good space now, it's because I been in a bad space for so long before. I don't consider myself a role model, because I think a role model should be speaking and saying something positive all the time. That ain't me. But my story has to be an inspiration to people that's from the bottom, that's from the same walks of life I'm from. I'm proof that success is possible. They can look at me and say, 'I know I could do this, because he did that” (218). This is a truly deep and philosophical statement, he says that he isn't a role model and doesn't want to be and describes what he sees as how a role model should be. This seems to be filled with emotion too because you can almost feel it when he says that the role model isn't him and that he is the proof of success.
The effective structure, clear and authentic voice, philosophical reflections,and emotion-filled descriptions of events make From Pieces To Weight: Once Upon a Time In Southside Queens a real winner I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys wants to be inspired or is interested in the turmoil-filled life of a music icon - 50 Cent.